Making gains at the border

A single car travels from Canada to the United States on the Lewiston Queenston Bridge as regular crossing is still restricted.

Make no mistake, the news Monday was good that Canada will be letting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into the country on Aug. 9.

We’ve written as well as know of many people who have been patiently waiting since March 2020 for a chance to cross the border into Canada.

We’re also sure there’s many Southern Ontario businesses that can’t wait for Americans to start crossing the local bridges again.

But we can’t say the same about businesses on this side of the border. And that’s what makes it really tough to truly celebrate the big news Monday from the Canadian government.

While we’ll be able to cross into Canada starting Aug. 9, the same can’t said for Canadians looking to get into the U.S. Not at this moment anyway.

Asked in Washington if the U.S. would follow suit and open the border to vaccinated Canadians, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about resuming travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts. ... I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who said he spoke with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday, said the U.S. has not yet indicated any plan to change current restrictions at the land border. Canadians are able to fly into the United States with a negative COVID-19 test.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to us. We understand the need to proceed with caution but as things stand now it’s going to be a real mess at the border come Aug. 9.

Fortunately we’re not the only ones concerned about the situation.

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) said Monday, “It is extremely frustrating that the United States government has failed to reciprocate current family exemptions already allowed by the Canadian government and failed to show a lack of urgency to make any progress on this side of the border toward lifting restrictions. … Failure to coordinate this announcement in a bi-national way will only lead to confusion among travelers.”

Added U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer in a release of his own, “The United State must now immediately follow suit, make our policy uniform, and further energize NY’s recovery.”

We couldn’t agree more. A one-way border isn’t going to be beneficial at all to local businesses, quite the opposite, we would think.

It makes little sense to open the border half way. We too are urging U.S. officials to coordinate with their Canadian counterparts to allow for a full reopening of the northern border on Aug. 9.

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